Technological transformation in healthcare has been a consistent necessity, considering the volatile nature of the industry and the lurking shadow of unknown diseases and ailments yet to be discovered.
Disruptive technologies such as AI, blockchain, personalized healthcare devices and mobile apps, and even AR/VR technology are being leveraged to a significant scale, leading to innovation of better and comprehensive approaches to patient care.
Entrepreneurs and business leaders across the tech spectrum are ceaselessly advocating the implementation of these and other reformative technologies with the intent of aiding the healthcare institutions, service providers, and the overall industry, to ensure optimum delivery of healthcare.
“By integrating tools that were once disconnected and connecting data from across the health system, we can redesign how patients and healthcare providers interact.”
One prominent name among such entrepreneurs and business leaders is, Heather George, the Chief Revenue Officer at Patientco.
Heather’s journey in the healthcare industry began at GE Healthcare. Later she joined McKesson where she managed sales for large corporate accounts and integrated delivery networks (IDNs).
After McKesson, Heather served as Vice President of Healthcare Industry Sales at Kaufman Hall. Today, she is the Chief Revenue Officer for Patientco, where she is responsible for leading the organization through its next phase of growth.
Pertaining to the adoption of novel technologies, Heather expresses, “Digital transformation should remain a top-of-mind for healthcare executives. Over the last year, telehealth became increasingly important for addressing patients’ clinical questions and general concerns. Similarly, effective digital communication strategies will keep patients informed, engaged and satisfied while powering a financially strong healthcare organization.”
Heather believes that digital engagement tools, such as real-time chat, empower health systems and their team members to focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks. She says, “For instance, if a patient is anxious about the cost of their care and has a question about their price estimate, the patient can easily get the information they need via automated chat to address their concerns and proceed with treatment, all with no added burden on the health system’s team members.”
A Benchmark of Excellence
Headquartered in Atlanta, Patientco—recently named Best in KLAS for Patient Financial Engagement Platforms—is the only vertically-integrated payment technology company that was founded specifically to rethink the patient payment experience in healthcare.
From the beginning, the company’s vision has been to empower patients with transparency, understanding, and control over every financial interaction within the healthcare ecosystem.
The team at Patientco believes that patients often perceive their financial situation as a barrier to getting the clinical care they need. Therefore, addressing patients’ concerns associated with medical expenses is paramount to improving the population’s health.
To that extent, when Patientco helps patients afford care, it also helps healthcare providers maintain healthy financials, ensuring they can carry out their important mission of delivering high-quality healthcare. Currently, more than 3,000 healthcare locations across the country use Patientco to provide their patients with better financial care.
Impact of the Unforeseen
We asked Heather on her opinion about the impact of the current pandemic on the healthcare sector, to which she said, “COVID-19 exposed significant economic and health equity gaps. The pandemic has shown that certain populations experience obstacles more acutely than others when seeking healthcare. For example, a patient’s socioeconomic status, as well as access to quality healthcare and their level of trust in the healthcare system impact their ability to achieve optimal health.”
“Moving forward, I believe there will be a renewed focus on breaking down the barriers that often prevent patients from seeking care, especially financial barriers such as cost concerns. Removing these barriers will help more patients reach their full health potential,” she adds.
Talking about how Patientco survived the challenges imposed by the pandemic, Heather says, “We shifted to a fully remote environment at the start of the pandemic. Since then, I’ve witnessed tremendous growth in my team and the organization.”
Patientco embraced this climate as an opportunity to advance product delivery and present unique solutions to the challenges faced by its clients and their patients. For example, the company deployed contactless payment options like Text-to-Pay for clients, which allow patients to securely complete a payment on their own device without touching shared credit card terminals or sharing their payment information over the phone.
Opinions that Matter
Every profound business leader is driven by a quintessential fuel called ‘change’. Similarly, Heather has a few opinions about what must be changed by companies functioning in the HealthTech space. She says:
“Healthcare organizations spend multi-millions of dollars on IT systems annually, yet those systems rarely deliver modern, consumer-friendly experiences that are now standard in other industries like retail.”
“Many healthcare IT companies have merged and ‘bolted together’ various point solutions through acquisitions to create their solution offerings for health systems. For example, conventional patient payment portals and billing statements do not connect to the underlying payment technologies. These fragmented technologies create a disjointed experience for patients.”
“Instead, true digital transformation hinges on the ability to tightly integrate technologies and create a fully patient-centric experience, which is what Patientco supports. By integrating tools that were once disconnected and connecting data from across the health system, we can redesign how patients and healthcare providers interact.”
She advises the budding entrepreneurs and HealthTech enthusiasts venturing into the healthcare services sector saying, “Entrepreneurs must deeply understand the complexities of healthcare. This industry is subject to countless nuanced policies and regulations. Startup leaders must be prepared to build a product that can viably weave through all the regulatory and compliance requirements while providing value for patients and providers.”